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We here at the Tech Deck are just like you: poor gamers looking for cheap entertainment. And nothing's cheaper than cost-free gaming. Each week, we'll bring you a title (or two or three) you can legally play at home without plopping down a single dollar. If you see games you think we should be featuring on the blog, email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've been wanting to highlight a great Star Wars game since the release of that awesome "The Force Awakens" trailer a few weeks ago. Seeing Han and Chewy took me back to the days of the Super Nintendo, when I had to enter Game Gear codes to finish the fiendishly difficult Super Star Wars series of side-scrolling adventures. I couldn't find the SNES version on the Internet Archive, but I did locate the Sega Game Gear version of Return of the Jedi. Click below to the play an in-browser emulation of that game!
Super Star Wars was notable for allowing you to select your character before each side-scrolling stage. It featured official licensed music and sound effects from the series, and in the Super Nintendo/Sega days, it was about as close as you could get outside the arcade to feeling like a truly empowered Jedi master in a video game. I never finished any of the titles, despite renting them over and over from Blockbuster. My side-scrolling skills were considerably limited in those days.
Go inside the blog to learn more about the Star Wars legacy in gaming.
Black Pearl Software, a now-defunct developer and publisher tied to game company THQ, handled the Game Gear port of Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which released in 1994 for the SNES and 1995 for Sega's colorful handheld. It followed the massively successful releases of Super Star Wars in 1992 and Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1993. All three games featured similar controls and graphics, with the levels changing to accommodate the different movies in the blockbuster film franchise. The Game Gear port was named Best Game Gear Game of 1995 by the publication Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Star Wars seemed a perfect pair with video games, and there have been a litany of titles released based on the film series since its debut in 1977. The first licensed Star Wars game, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, released for the Atari 2600 in 1982, two years after the release of the movie in theaters. An arcade game was released the next year, with a full-scale cabinet that allowed players to take control of a rebel spaceship in the assault on the Death Star.
The 1990s and 2000s saw several great first-person shooters, platformers and even racers set in the Star Wars universe. But the most critically acclaimed game based on the franchise is arguably Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, an action RPG developed by BioWare (who would go on to acclaim with their Mass Effect trilogy and, most recently, Dragon Age: Inquisition) that was released for consoles and PC in 2003.
What's your favorite Star Wars video game? Do you hope a great tie-in game will be released with the latest film? Let us know in the comments below, and check back next week for another free title.